1- What is natural wine or wine without sulfites?
In recent years a new range of wines has appeared on the market, the so-called “natural wines”. As their name indicates, sulfite-free wines are those in which sulfur anhydride (a disinfectant, antioxidant and antiseptic chemical compound) is not added in the wine-making process. They are also known as natural wines without sulfites.
2- Are there wines that are not natural and, therefore, artificial?
First of all, it must be made clear that by definition, all wines are natural. According to official regulations, a wine is “the natural food obtained exclusively by alcoholic fermentation, total or partial, of fresh grapes, crushed or not, or of grape must” (Law 24/2003).
3- How are “natural wines” different from conventional wines?
The production of a “natural wine” lies in the minimal intervention of man for its elaboration , both in the vineyard and in the winery, as well as with the minimal addition of external agents that could distort the expression of the grape, the land and the environment (such as the addition of tartaric and citric acids to correct acidity or sulfur dioxide to improve stabilization).
How are natural wines different from organic wines?
It should be noted that, unlike organic and biodynamic wines , whose production process is governed by specific principles, the criteria for obtaining a “natural wine” is not clearly regulated by any regulations.
4- How are natural wines made?
For the production of natural wines, we have to follow some guidelines both in the vineyard and in the winery:
According to this production system, grapes are obtained through:
1- respectful practices with the earth ,
2- avoiding the use of chemical products,
3- focusing on the use of ecological and sustainable practices,
4- opting for manual and artisan practices,
5- maintaining a responsible behavior when organizing resources such as energy, water, work and time (Figure 1).
Once in the cellar:
1- the must is fermented without adding commercial yeasts that ensure (or direct) the process,
2- the native yeasts present in the grape skins are allowed to carry out this process.
3- Starter cultures are not added to carry out malolactic fermentation.
Once obtained, the wine is not filtered or clarified (Figure 2), and it is manually packaged in glass bottles stoppered with natural cork, which allows it to express and preserve its uniqueness.
5- What are the risks associated with organic wines without sulfites?
This production system carries a series of risks:
1- the contaminations in the fermentation process due to the use of the yeasts present in the grape.
2- the lack of stability in the bottle derived from the lack of sulfur dioxide in the production process, which can lead to defects in aromas and flavors.
In any case, it is a new range of wines that aims at the maximum expression of the grape and its environment , allowing us to enjoy its potential in a more natural way.
Why should you drink natural wines?